June 7, 2016

Iran: A Gamble At Best

Kim Robins ‘17

The hottest topic in global politics last summer was the deal reached between Iran and five global powers, including the United States. The Iran Deal, as it is known in the public sphere, requires that Iran curb aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief and removal of other provisions that bar Iran’s access to weapons and trade.
The first major milestone of the deal - the lifting of sanctions - occurred on January 16, when the international community determined that Iran was making the necessary efforts to cut back its nuclear capabilities. The Western world is proud of this step and of the general progress the international community had made in reincorporating Iran into the global fold.
I, too, support these political and diplomatic efforts. I am skeptical, however, as to whether or not Iran is truly ready for the sanctions relief, political freedom, $100 billion in frozen assets, ballistic missiles and other amenities that this deal grants the nation.
            The world has already seen that Iran does not cooperate with efforts to control its nuclear program, which many believe is dangerous and is producing weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. Since 1990, Iran has violated six UN Resolutions pertaining to its program and has resisted other nations’ attempts to inspect its suspicious facilities. Only in 2012, when the international community placed serious sanctions upon Iran and crippled its economy, did Iranian leaders agree to negotiate over its nuclear agenda.
In fact, Iran has already violated parts of this nuclear deal. Within weeks of the deal’s announcement in July, Iran was caught buying weapons from Russia and has since tested long-range missiles to be launched at Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nations.
In the coming months, Iran will be in a position to wreak even more havoc upon the Middle East. British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other international leaders are worried that the $100 billion dollars in assets that Iran can now use will go toward funding terrorism. Iranian leaders have close ties to Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations that threaten to destroy the United States, Israel and other Western nations and cultures. Given Iran’s history of neglecting its own impoverished people, these assets - which equal a quarter of Iran’s gross domestic product - will only hurt the world.
The world is doing too much at once. We are in such a rush to welcome Iran back into the global fold that we are deliberately ignoring its government's pointed attacks at the U.S. and Israel, aid to terrorist organizations and continued human rights abuses and oppression of minority groups. Everything that Iran will gain from this deal - money, ballistic missiles, international support and even many of the centrifuges it was forced to shut down temporarily - may come back to hurt us and the Iranian people.
Since its implementation in July, too many people have adopted the attitude that the Iran deal is past us and that as long as both sides comply, the world will stay safe and Iran will remain in check. A nuclear Iran, however, is not a political game. It is an existential threat to our nation, people, culture and livelihood. We must be willing to take it seriously and not to give Iran the benefit of the doubt when its extremist leadership has proven time and time again that they are not to be trusted. A nuclear Iran - or even an Iran with the money, military power and political and economic freedom that we are now granting it - must be controlled at all costs.

Iran and its people are valuable to the global economy and society. We can certainly help Iran end its isolation by following the parameters of the deal, but we also have to be wary of the nation and its motives. In order to make the nuclear deal work, we - the citizens of the Western world - have to be vigilant and only acquiesce to Iran’s demands once we are certain that they meet ours.

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